Last night, President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address. And he did a remarkable job. While touting the economy, advances against terrorism, and his immigration plans, he did what some thought was impossible. He looked the part; he was presidential. Mr. Trump deserves credit, not for delivering a speech written by someone else, but for delivering on his promises. He deserves credit for his tax cuts, plunging unemployment, and more. But the speech last night will be forgotten by tomorrow night. What will be remembered – and what really matters – is what he does next. I suggest five things. Do this, Mr. President, and 2018 will be a successful year.
1. Keep selling the tax cut.
While Democrats continue to ridicule $1,000 bonus checks as “crumbs,” keep telling the truth. Millions are better off because of the tax cuts. So keep beating that drum, through the 2018 election and beyond. Make Democrats answer for why not a single one of them voted for the tax cuts.
2. Keep talking about ISIS.
Stay on track. When the media/Democrats try to refocus your attention on Russia (every day), talk ISIS. When you are asked about North Korea, talk ISIS. When they ask you about the wall, talk ISIS. When you are asked where you buy your suits, say, “ISIS.” Keep saying it – the world is a better place because of what you have done about ISIS.
3. Keep pushing immigration.
Your plan legalizes about 2 million non-whites, which explains, of course, why the Left calls this an act of white supremacy. Huh? That’s okay. The extreme Left and Right were never with you, anyway. You have a sensible, balanced immigration plan. Stick with it. Push the plan hard.
4. Keep at it with health care.
Don’t give up. Go small. Go incremental. Take what you can get and then go for more. Last time you did it the wrong way and lost. If you do it the right way, you can win.
5. Keep your mobile devices out of reach.
By “out of reach,” I mean, memorize the nuclear code, but forget the password to your iPhone. When you are criticized (every day), let it go. When you are misrepresented by the media (every day), look the other way. When under attack, let someone else do your fighting. Leave Twitter behind. Twitter is not your friend. Instead, reach out to the more centrist Congressional Democrats you can find and work with them. You need ten Senate Democrats to get anything done. So if there are ten Senate Democrats who choose to not run for president in 2020 – it will be a close call – work with them.
In summary, it is not what you do that will determine whether you get a second term or not, but how you do it. For eight years, polls found President Obama’s policies to be largely unpopular, while he was personally popular. You, Mr. President, are the mirror opposite. People like your tax cuts. They like your America-first message. They are for reasonable immigration reform. They like your ideas. It’s you they aren’t so crazy about. So become a bit more likable and less defensive. Pop in some old videos of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton; watch how they did it. If you can do this – and that’s a choice you will need to make every day – what comes after the big speech will be better than the speech itself.
That would be good for you, for your presidency, and most of all, for America.